Hawthorne and Emerson did not see eye to eye when it came to “what evil lurks in the hearts of men.”
In one of his stories, [Hawthorne] has the devil say, “Evil is the nature of mankind.” [he] didn’t go that far, but argued time and again for the “evil impulse” in us all. “Oh, take my word for it,” his devil taunted reformers, “it will be the old world yet!”
Emerson, on the other hand, found The Scarlet Letter a “ghastly” book, apparently recognizing it as an attack on his feelings-based morality.
Read all about it in The Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest, out today, with special attention to “three discarded Oak Park school namesakes” — these two plus James Russell Lowell, whose paean to June — “what is so rare”? — gets special billing.